August 2011: Adu back in MLS fold

When they first were paired at D.C. United some seven years ago, the relationship between coach Peter Nowak and then 14-year-old Freddy Adu was a rocky one. Adu, naturally, wanted to play more. Nowak, realizing he had a precious teenage phenom, did not want to rush things.

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Freddy Adu #11 of the Philadelphia Union kicks the ball during the game against FC Dallas. The game ended 2-2. (Photo:Getty Images)


Today, they need each another. Adu, after a rather unsuccessful stint with five clubs in Europe, needs a place to play regularly. The Union, whose main scoring threat, Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz, was sold to Veracruz (Mexico), needs as much attacking help as it can get. So Nowak and Adu hope they can form a more perfect union for Philadelphia.

"Sometimes I didn't handle some of the ways Peter was trying to get the message across to me very well," Adu said. "When I first came into the league, I was 14, 15, 16, you know, I was a kid. And when you get to play with top club teams in Europe, you realize you needed that because that's exactly how things are over there. So I am just happy to be here, happy to be working with this coaching staff and happy to have the opportunity to play soccer. That's all I ever really wanted."

Two days after signing, Adu got his first start for the Union in a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas in front of a capacity crowd at PPL Park on Saturday night. The American international played in front of a sold out PPL Park, clocking 62 minutes of solid play before coming off for striker Danny Mwanga.

Adu, who was greeted by the crowd with a standing ovation, did not play a vital role but he certainly stole a lot of the spotlight from the game. The 22-year-old had a few nice touches, but was also awarded a yellow card in the 27th minute for a reckless tackle.

"You can still see he needs game fitness,” Nowak said. “I think he understood the concept of the 60 minutes he played. He is going to get more dangerous if he is going to move from place-to-place. We have to figure out the tactical part, we have to see where he fits in our system. For the first time, it was good to have him."

Adu, who had made more club debuts in the past several years than he had planned, saw room for improvement. "I was always trying to force things when I got to a new place," he said. “But today, I tried to let the game come to me and it did, especially in the second half.

"You always have to get the first one out of the way. I have to get involved more. I’ve got to get on the same page as the rest of the guys. We have a great team and we are going to be hard to beat.

For the record, Sebastien Le Toux converted two penalty kicks for Philadelphia. Maicon Santos and Brek Shea connected for first-goal scores for Dallas.

Red Bulls fail to get all the points at home once again 

One of the biggest enigmas this season has been the New York Red Bulls. Despite the presence of former French international Thierry Henry and Mexican National Team captain Rafa Marquez, they continue to squander away points. Their most recent match was a perfect example, as they tied the lowly Chicago Fire, 2-2, at home. Joel Lindpere's 63rd-minute goal proved to be the equalizer as Henry tallied for the Red Bulls, whose winless streak reached six games and who haven't won since July 6. Dominic Oduro and Sebastian Grazini scored for the Fire.

"We are where we deserve to be," said Henry, who moved ahead of Landon Donovan into the MLS top goal scoring position with his 12th strike of the season. "That's all I can tell. If we keep on tying games and giving goals away, you deserve to be where you are. It's as simple as that."

Canadian international midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, who won consecutive MLS Player of the Week honors and who recorded a hat-trick last week, could not keep his streak going in D.C. United's 4-0 triumph over the Vancouver Whitecaps, which snapped the club's seven-game home winless streak. But he did set up two goals. Chris Pontius, this week's Player of the Week, struck twice while Andy Najar and Stephen King added the other goals.

Columbus stays top in the East

After allowing U.S. international midfielder Benny Feilhaber to score in first-half stoppage time, the Columbus Crew rallied for three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution. An own goal, Julius James and Emilio Renteria found the back of the net.

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Julius James #26 of the Columbus Crew slides in to take the ball away from Benny Feilhaber #22 of the New England Revolution. (Photo: Getty Images)


The win keeps the Crew atop the Eastern Conference, three points above the Union and six points in front of the Red Bulls.

Substitute Joao Plata scored in the 77th minute to give Toronto FC a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake at BMO Field, its first victory in the last seven games.

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Joao Plata #7 of Toronto FC gets away from Nat Borchers #6 of Real Salt Lake during MLS action. (Photo: Getty Images)


Adam Moffatt fired home a 38-yard goal against his former team and Brian Ching added another for the Houston Dynamo, which registered a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers. Jack Jewsbury connected for Portland.

Jeff Larentowicz and Caleb Forlan tallied to lift the visiting and defending MLS champion Colorado Rapids over the San Jose Earthquakes, 2-1. Joey Gjertsen scored for the hosts, who extended their club record winless streak to six games.

Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made two saves and had some help when a Seattle Sounders penalty kick by Alvaro Fernandez rattled off the post in a scoreless draw in Seattle.

The LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City were idle this past weekend.